What’s the diff?
Everything. Just see today’s NY Times article about a water brand that was prompted to remove their product because of arsenic levels.
Now don’t panic. Arsenic is a “heavy metal found in the Earth’s crust and ubiquitous in the environment, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences”.
The important thing is to make sure you and your loved ones aren’t constantly exposed to levels above acceptable, which according to the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) is 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is the same level the FDA sets for bottled water.
“Because arsenic can leach into groundwater through rocks in soil, contaminated drinking water is the most common way humans can ingest it. But it can also be found in certain foods, such as rice. It is used in pesticides, wood preservatives, and tobacco as well as released into the environment by volcanoes and mining processes.”
You get your tap water through either ground or surface sources. “Arsenic levels tend to be higher in drinking water that comes from ground sources, such as wells, than from water from surface sources, such as lakes or reservoirs.”
Of course, you want to drink water that has the lowest levels possible and since it’s invisible, odorless and tasteless the only way to find out levels is to test for it. Start by ordering a water quality report for your area. Just google “water quality report” and then the name of your city and state, and search for the most recent year.
In addition to metals, local crops and pesticides, the pipes to your house or building, water treatment plants and weather (among other things) can contribute to the purity and taste of your water.
Some people drink bottled because they don’t like the taste of their tap water and vice versa. Some are influenced by marketing. I hate to break it to you but just because it says “spring water” on the bottle doesn’t mean it came from a spring. Sigh!
And even if it is the purist most delicious water ever, and the container BPA free, it still can leach harmful toxins into your system if the bottle gets hot like if you leave it in your warm car. Definitely do NOT do that.
I realize how convenient it is to have those 8 oz grab and go bottles. But they break my heart as they are too small to make a dent in your hydration level unless you drink enough to contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you don’t know what that is, please learn - it’s a patch of plastic in the ocean that is currently twice the size of Texas. That’s a lot of water bottle caps! And unfortunately, there are more than one of these patches on our gorgeous earth.
So, if you must grab a bottle to go, get a reusable one or a larger one so you need less. Heck bring a marker with you to put your name or an icon on it so yours is recognizable when with a group and encourage them to do the same. My mother in law always has us label our cups and with 20+ nieces and nephews consuming beverages that helps reduce waste by a lot!
Personally, in the tap vs bottle debate, I’m a fan of filtered tap water. Yup, I just grab a glass from my cabinet and fill er up, sometimes adding lemon or an herbal tea or pure juice.
According to the article, “here are a few ways you can easily filter your tap water.
Countertop, Faucet & Water Filter Pitchers — These filtration systems are the most convenient way to purify your tap water. You can easily filter out many additives, such as chlorine. Water filter pitchers are extremely popular and allow you to store purified tap water in the fridge and ready to drink.
Reverse Osmosis & Distillation — To filter out other chemicals or minerals, most notably lead and fluoride, you will need a slightly more advanced filtration system. The most popular way is to install a reverse osmosis system in your home, which purifies your water before it even comes out of the faucet.”
What you need is dependent upon that water report I mentioned earlier.
Importantly, don’t let any of this dissuade you from staying hydrated. It’s hot out there folks! Go grab a glass of water and drink away.
Clean water advocate,
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™